Tag Archive: linkedin


The darndest things can spur writing.

Tonight I cleaned the bathroom sink drain (for the umpteenth time) and our dishwasher drain (for the first time).  The first effort was habitual; the second was exploratory.  Thanks go to mom for the Drain Snake(tm) and the Tennessean Dollar General store at which she surely purchased that handy little stocking stuffer in late December.

so much depends upon a white childproof latch

What got me to the keyboard at quarter past 11 p.m. is what I did after I finished my domestic foray: I removed the childproof latch to our kitchen cabinet sink.  Simple enough task … flathead screwdriver … turn turn turn <plink> … turn turn turn … turn turn <plink> . Done.

But it was the thought process behind removing that blessed little white plastic work of engineering genius: our son is old enough that we don’t need it. And other than frustrating adults, the little lock most likely can’t thwart any more little Hambrick fingers.

With several friends expanding their nuclear/familial child to adult ratio recently, of course we’ve considered following suit.  And had we leaned more toward revisiting the lands of poopy diapers, then perhaps I wouldn’t’ve offed the lock.

But I did.  And it’s all good.

From time to time, new words and phrases come to me. For most of these creations, I’ll put the blame squarely on my working with words 8+ hours/day. I’ll blame chatting in general for inventing today’s vocab: elliptical conversation.

You can bet you’ve had one of these.

elliptical conversation
el·lip·ti·cal con·ver·sa·tion
Pronunciation:
i-lip-ti-kəl kän-vər-sā-shən
Function: noun
1 : electronic exchange of sentiments, observations, opinions, or ideas (often through chat) in which two participants carry on said exchanges simultaneously, but not in tandem, often to the bewilderment of both parties   2 : a similar exchange and resulting bewilderment due to bad phone reception

Edwin: “Tré, I just found out that I got that position with the Assurance group! How’s it going?”

Tré: “Congratulations!!! 😛 … How are you feeling?”

Edwin: “Thanks, I didn’t tell my dad yet. :O”

Tré: “All’s well here.”

Edwin: “I’m doing great. Did you get the results back from the lab?”

Tré: “Are you mad at your dad?”

Edwin: “I hope the tests are negative.”

Tré: “I’ve not heard anything negative.”

Edwin: “You just don’t hang around with him enough … jeez!”

Tré: “The guy at the lab?”

Edwin: “Huh?”

Tré: “Huh?”

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,100 times in 2010. That’s about 7 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 17 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 68 posts. There were 41 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 6mb. That’s about 3 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was January 28th with 86 views. The most popular post that day was Thinking of Freelancing? Think about this….

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were freelancefolder.com, facebook.com, postconsumers.com, linkedin.com, and lmodules.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for halo-halo, grillz, halo halo, halohalo, and filipino flag.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Thinking of Freelancing? Think about this… May 2009

2

Happy (Philippine) Independence Day! June 2009

3

Young Georgia Authors’ Writing Competition & Pirsig’s Quality March 2009
5 comments

4

Advent Spiral December 2009
3 comments

5

With or at me, just laugh April 2010
3 comments

The little guy a few seasons ago as a Grasshopper

“Do you have a little brother over there?” asked the young coach, walking to retrieve the cones on my end of the soccer field.

To tell the truth, I just came out here for some practice.

“No…to tell the truth, I just came out here for some practice,” I replied glancing more than casually in the direction he had motioned, toward the youth league match taking place on the adjoining field.

The exchange was simple, but sparked thoughts of games gone by, practices where I felt I could run forever, as long as my water cooler awaited me at the end.  At sixteen years of age I made the decision to cease pursuing club-level soccer.  Close to a decade later, with only a handful of scrimmages to fill those years, there is still magic in this simple game.  It can not be explained, but anyone, who has given his or her heart to a sport, any sport, knows exactly how I feel. It’s so much more than a simple love of the game, deeper than the enjoyment of a pastime.  There is a brotherhood that exists here on these fields, on any field, from the pristine pitch of a German Stadium to a dirt street of Venezuela.

During my first year of college, I took refuge in the gym with my well-worn soccer ball, figuring that the cinder block walls would be sufficient teammates.  One evening, I met a fellow soccer player.  He simply said something like, “Here you go,” and indicated that he was ready for a pass.  Unquestioning, I offered a simple, in-step pass, received by a simple, one-touch stop that, like the delivery, spoke of not a few years of training and hard work.  It was in that one interaction that a bond was formed.

The connection is not solely between those of us who have played with and against one another.  It binds us no matter our nationality, our abilities, our age.  It is the passion, the intensity, and the appreciation of this sport that brings us together.  It manifests when you witness a perfectly executed play even without a goal to show for it and you still let the words, “How magnificent!” escape your lips.  More than a game, beyond a sport, you recognize it as an art.

In the present day, my physical condition is not what it was, and my skills have lost the edge that kept at tight reign on the defensive half of more than one premier or classic level team.  The boys nearby show promise, putting their hearts into the game despite the rain puddles and uneven field.  I watch and clap and shout encouraging words to players on both sides.

In *his* footsteps

In my mind’s eye, the coach presents me once more with the question, “Do you have a little brother over there?”

As the game ends and I make my way off the field, I reply aloud, “Yeah, coach.  Twenty-two of ‘em.”

A month. A whole month since my last entry.

Dear God but I missed my blog the way you’d miss a 12-step meeting: sure I could go on without, but it does me a world of good. Still 30 days without and I start to get the heebie-jeebies. And that’s something this writer likes to avoid, particularly when I enjoy writing and do it daily.

Daily, mind you … just not always on Heavy Mental.

Then it occurred to me: why not write about what I wrote about? Truth is, I’m taking a cue from Atlanta designer and illustrator extraordinaire San Smith (pink hair, genuine talent, nice person … what’s not to like?). She has a regular feature on her site dubbed “What I wore today.” Why not fashion something akin to that based on my writing? (San, imitation is flattery … Hope you don’t mind!) So, here goes:

It’s busy season for the Big Four, so work saw me proofing some financial documents. Nothing thrilling there other than finding an addition error — pretty impressive when I consider that I was absent from school the day they taught math.

But the creative writing for the day came in the form of a Facebook reply to a friend who chose to go to the gym over attending a wine tasting tonight. From a perspective not my own, I wrote:

Dear Colleen,
I wish to convey my congratulations on your willpower, gumption, and veritable self-discipline in choosing the treadmill over the tasting.
Sure, perhaps by 1 a.m., you’d find my tantalizing nose, spicy bouquet, and smooth finish would linger and lilt about your senses like a Taser(R) on low-voltage, but the gym is a wise choice. After all, there’s no day like today to do something good for your body. And besides, I’ll be mo’ bettah the longer you put me off.
Best Regards, The Chilean Shiraz

It’s after writing something like that — even when I’m ready to hit the hay — that I recall how much I enjoy writing. Yay words.

So I’ll keep on this weekly “What’d I write Wednesdays” kick and do my best to pepper the other days of the week with posts so as not to get Thursday through Tuesday riled up with jealousy and to keep my true-believer readers guessing. Here’s to (in)consistency.

That’s it for What’d I write Wednesdays … and here’s to 311 Thursday tomorrow. Awwww, YEAH!

From the Gregg Reference Manual, ninth edition:

“Rules merely represent an attempt to impose some order and consistency on a language that cheerfully persists in disorder and inconsistency.”

Indeed.

I suppose that – as editors – our lot in life is to struggle with words, not unlike trying to ride a Brahma bull.  But I think that it’s a good struggle.  See, I’ve found that editing is how we Walk the Line (with a nod to Mr. Cash).  We balance the exacting precision of proofing with the free-range roaming that is writing.

Off to do some editing ...

Consistency does help the reader, but there’s something else: it helps us.  From a business perspective, consistency is vital.  Follow me here.

Given that all else was equal, would you purchase a product from a business that produces typo-ridden marketing or would your coin go to the business that offers consistent, crisp material?

11 out of 10 Dereks would choose the error-free vendor.

Why?  Well, it comes down to the unwritten message: if a business doesn’t care enough to offer a consistent, clean message, where else are they lacking?  How do I know their product is not similarly problem-ridden?  Will the coffee pot break after a month?  Will my car repairs fail me when my family is driving at night?  Will my pants split if I take two stairs at a time?  It’s a matter of trust.

For the sake of the underlying message of trust, we need consistency.  This is not an absolute, but it helps your brand.  Such is the power of words.

Yay, words.

Heavy Mental readers, I love you.  But I’ve found myself spending time writing for two other blogs.  I think you’d enjoy them, but you can’t read them — directly at least.  Sorry, but no can do.

You see, one blog is a collaborative effort, written from the perspective of a single female.  And I’m neither.  We’ve got four writers, each of whom is a fine writer in his or her own right.  We’re a disparate bunch — making our individual content come through in a unified voice makes for a challenge.  But that’s fun for writers. 

Regardless of the input, the content is uniformly helpful, real, and — dare I say — inspiring.  It’s fuel for life, no matter your personal upholstery.  

As contributors, we’re staying anonymous, but let’s just say that if you scan WordPress and look for Lightgirl10, you may recognize a familiar style.  Just saying.

The other blog is a tag-teamed, internal editorial salvo.  A blog about editing.  In the context of a multinational firm.  Before you write it off as about as fun as a trip to the DMV, lemme say this: it’s fun regardless. 

Seriously.  It’s like Rosencrantz and Gildenstern with something worthwhile to say.  And if Rosencrantz and Gildenstern weren’t buffoons.  Well, OK, it’s not much like Rosencrantz and Gildenstern aside from the knowledge of Shakespearean literature — a topic into which we’ve yet to foray.

Besides our collective quirky humor, which peppers our content like ubiquitous red cups at a frat party, we’ve posted images like the one to the right. 

I’ll let you know if it gets pulled, but until then, our buzzword is forgiveness, not permission.  And to think I used to work in a corporation that blocked access to blogs a dicto simpliciter.

Regardless of whether I’m collaborating on content as a virtual SWF or a-bloggin’ on yonder side of the corporate firewall, I’ll stay true to you, Heavy Mental readers.

3K … who knew?

When I started this blog, all I needed was an outlet for my writing.  I had no idea it would ever reach 3,000 hits.

But it did.  Andre would be proud.

The succinct salvo from Beckett that helped start this thing off still holds true: “Words are all we have.” 

They let us tell our stories, question, answer, ponder, teach … So, here’s to that, to them, and to us.

Keep reading.  And I’ll keep writing.

Thanks for the interest and the support!

Simmering down

That’s what I’m doing, thanks to a friend offering the above advice yesterday.  (Thanks, Rache.)  And for a guy who tends to cook his oatmeal on a burner turned up to high, that’s challenging.

Accompanying the advice was a clip of a song of the same name. I played it five times.  (Thanks, Bob.)

The context of the advice is this: I was — am — going in a dozen directions at once.  I need to focus.  Chill.  Simmer down.  Taking the New Year and its offer of a new beginning, I’ve decided to set some definite goals and let the rest subside, i.e., simmer, as it were.

So I focus on my goals.  Write them out.  Add subgoals.  Work toward them.  Other stuff will come up, I know.  Life is like that.  But that notwithstanding, I’m intent on keeping on track. 

Another friend/coworker shared on her site how to put your goals in a book — a smashing way to keep them in your face metaphorically and literally.  (Thanks, San.)  This helps not only keep them in mind, but chronicle your efforts.  I think I’ll try it.

A buddy of mine wrote out two pages of goals, subgoals, dates, etc. a few years ago and went about accomplishing and staying on target more that year than previous.  Great example.  (Thanks, Andrew.)  My turn.

Now, with less than 48 hours until 2010, I’ve gotta get crackin’.

I don’t believe in coincidences.  And that makes life a bit more challenging.

Why’s that?  Well, I believe there’s reason behind everything, so I can’t just dismiss these experiences as chance.  They prompt me to ask myself, “Self, why?”  I tend to end up with a lesson learned more often that a phenomenon explained.

One such experience happened as I looked out from the ninth floor of the Ernst & Young building.  It was a rainy day as I recall.  The floor-to-ceiling window framed much of western Atlanta.  Looking out, I saw visitors entering The World of Coke, and I could make out Coke headquarters to my right.  Further still, the lights above Bobby Dodd Stadium at Georgia Tech loomed unillumined above Grant Field.  The 75/85 confluence moved briskly, albeit almost out of sight, past Allen Plaza.  Atlanta, despite the somber weather, remained active.

And then I looked down.

That’s when I saw the Atlanta Union Mission.  Between the Mission and my building — both physically and metaphorically — was a vacant lot.  Just a few bare trees, discarded boxes, and a small blue tarp scattered across the brown space.   And then the tarp, in the corner of the lot, moved.

It wasn’t blown by wind; there was a man using it for shelter from October rain and wind.  I didn’t actually see the man emerge from his make-shift shelter, but I could tell from the shape and size that it was a person, despite the lack of continued movement.

Standing there, looking down, I realized that I was in the same room in which I had interviewed for my current job.

I saw the differences and the similarities between him and me, and then marveled at the timing of that moment.  Why, in its usual unassuming tone sauntered up behind and presented itself. 

Kansha ~ gratitude

I thought about how fortunate I am that I have what I have — health, family, occupation — and the answer to this coincidence is “give thanks.”  And there’s really so many reasons to do so.

In related news, an old friend started a blog, choosing to focus on gratitude.  What a very fine place to start.